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Tony Newman

Tony Newman

Posted: February 8, 2011 06:51 PM

A short clip from a recent Family Feud is going viral!

The footage is of Steve Harvey asking the question: "Name something that gets passed around?" One of the contestants slams the buzzer and blurts out "a joint." The next two minutes are hilarious and make this clip an instant classic.

The video is amusing and is another sign of how mainstream marijuana use has become in American society. Look around: Marijuana has been normalized in pop culture (Weeds, It's Complicated and all Judd Apatow movies), on the cover of magazines (Time and The Economist), and it's hard to find a politician who hasn't inhaled (Obama, Bloomberg, Sarah Palin, to name just a few).

There are now 15 states, from the west (California) to the center (Montana) to the east (New Jersey) to even our nation's capital, that have adopted medical marijuana laws. According to a Gallop Poll, 46 percent of voters nationwide and more than 50 percent of voters in western states already support legalizing marijuana for adults. 4.6 million Californians voted for Prop. 19 in California last year, far more than GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who spent a record $178 million on her race.

But with all of these signs of progress, you might be surprised to learn that in the United States more than 750,000 people are still arrested every year on marijuana possession alone -- nearly half of all drug arrests in the country. People arrested for marijuana are subject to permanent criminal records, loss of financial aid, possible loss of child custody, loss of public housing and a host of other collateral consequences.

And while marijuana use doesn't discriminate, our marijuana policies do. Law enforcement arrest blacks and Latinos at substantially higher rates for low-level marijuana possession than whites despite U.S. government surveys that consistently find young whites use marijuana at higher rates than young blacks and Latinos.

While the fun Family Feud clip reminds us how mainstream marijuana consumption has become in this country, the war on marijuana users is no laughing matter.

Tony Newman is the director of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance. Stephen Gutwillig is the Californa state director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

 

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